While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

California?....

Well everyone, you read it right I’m headed to California. As in New California, here in Plain City, Ohio.


Just kidding :) I have served for just about 18 months here in The Great Ohio Columbus Mission and my time has come to an end. But I am not sad because I am satisfied (and extremely tired) and I know that the Lord is satisfied with the work I have done on His behalf. I have met so many wonderful people who I have had the opportunity to teach and see change their lives, and some that I have only met once. They have all impacted me in one way or another, and most importantly have helped me build my testimony. Recently President Stratford told me that when I step off that plane the only thing my friends and family will recognize about me is my face. And he is absolutely right. I have become a new person through Christ, through having to rely on Him through trials and struggles, seeing others change their lives and find joy, and recognizing that everything good I could possibly have comes from Him. I want you to know that I know that my Redeemer lives, that He loves me and each one of us. He has a perfect plan that allows us to have a fullness of joy, and if we follow the path He has so carefully set for us we can experience that now. Yes, in the midst of a world of sorrow and confusion I promise that we can have joy through Christ. His path is definitely not the easiest, nor does it always look most desirable, but it is the only way that we can have true and everlasting hope and peace. I have seen this for myself,  and I am excited to continue on that path He has helped me find while serving as His missionary. Because of my service and what I have learned, I will never stop being a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
This is only a portion of my testimony and I can't possibly put everything I feel into words. I would echo Ammon when He says, "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16) 

I do rejoice that I have gained an undeniable testimony of my Savior, His redeeming power, His mercy and patience with me as I try to figure life out. I cannot tell you the smallest part of the blessings and miracles I have seen while serving as an instrument in His hands and I intend to do so for as long as I live. 

If you need more joy in your life, more hope, direction or purpose, I invite you to make the necessary changes in your life to come closer to Christ. Talk to a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they are anxiously wanting to help others have the tools they need to build their relationship with Christ. I promise you it will not be easy, but nothing of consequence in this life comes easy. But I do promise that Christ is not just a way, but He is the only way, the truth and the life that can bring you true joy.

I love you all so much. See you real soon, and just keep smiling!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Change=Joy




Exciting news of the week: KERRY HASKINS GOT BAPTIZED!!!! I cannot tell you how happy I am. This past transfer has changed me so much. It is my final one and I felt like it has been a culmination of everything I have learned so far on my mission. I have been seriously stretched, I have had to rely on nothing but my Savior for guidance and strength and I have needed to exercise a lot of faith. Like any other situation that requires these elements, we have seen a lot of miracles come from it. But the greatest miracle of all is Kerry and this step she has made to bring herself closer to Jesus Christ. She has experienced so many changes in her life as she has worked hard to more closely align her life with Christ's gospel and has received so much joy. This is our purpose in life, to receive joy! And Christs ways is the way to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. I am so grateful that I have been able to watch Kerry and so many of my other friends begin their journey on that path through baptism. 

I love you all, have a wonderful week. And remember, just keep smiling!



Wednesday, June 27, 2018

He Shall Teach You All Things


This week was fantastic! I feel like we didn't do a whole lot though. Honestly lately, I feel like it's just God teaching our friends the things they need to know and we are lucky enough to be along for the ride.



Kerry is doing amazing! She is so excited and prepared for her baptism this Saturday! That's three days from now! In three days she will make essential, sacred covenants with her Father in Heaven. Since I last talked with you Kerry had her baptismal interview. I think I told you how powerful it was for us preparing her for that, and Elder Bagley felt that power as he was conducting the actual interview. He told us that it was the most incredible interview he has been able to be a part of. He shared with us one thing that she said. She told him that she would give up anything in her life if it meant she could partake of the sacrament weekly. I love Kerry. I am so excited for her testimony to grow and deepen even more moving forward.

Our other friend Gladys is still doing amazing :) honestly, she lights up my world. I adore her. This week we taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is to have faith, repent, be baptized and receive the holy ghost, and endure to the end. Then the next day she was able to attend a baptism, and the next day she attended church with us. She is amazing :) it's a wonder she doesn't get sick of us! Haha. But then we had another lesson with her this week and she had so many insights and thoughts, and experiences where she knew the spirit was teaching her and reminding her of things. All of her experiences this week linked together and they haven't been able to leave her mind. There are a few obstacles in her way, but she knows she is on the right path and is going strong! She inspires me.

Gladys

Like I said, I don't really think we have done anything. We have just been the vessels and provided opportunities for them to have spiritual experiences. I know that the Holy Ghost is the real teacher. And I am grateful for that. His witness is more powerful than anything that I could ever say or do on my own and it is how these friends I mentioned are experiencing true conversion. 

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:26-27)

Love you all, and just keep smiling.




Monday, June 25, 2018

A Pure And Delightsome People


This week was so totally awesome! Do you want to know why?! Because experienced incredible miracles. And the types of miracles this week are the reason I am a missionary and why I love it so much. We experienced many instances where we were able to see the evidence of conversion in those we are working with.

First I would like to tell you about Gladys :) She is amazing! The sweetest little lady and just a party to be around. When I first met her, which is just shy of three weeks now, and her intent and desire for meeting with us has completely changed. It started with her saying that she was just curious, then she had experiences feeling the spirit so strongly during a chapel tour and from coming to church that she told us this was an option for her. She actually called us this week pretty upset and told us that she was so sad she couldn't make it to church this week. She didn't know about some Father's Day plans that had been made and was so excited to come again and stay for the second and third hours. We made her day when we told her we would attend an earlier ward with her :) In our last lesson with her a few days ago she was talking as if this was the option and something she knows God wants for her and is praying about a baptismal date! I know that the spirit is the real teacher. When we teach by the spirit and when those we teach have real intent, hearts can be changed.

Ready for some more exciting stuff? Our dear friend Kerry is getting baptized on the 30th of this month! I have probably told you that before, I just can't get over how exciting it is! And what is even greater is that her excitement matches ours. We have just been trying to do all we can for her to build her testimony and integrate her into the ward. This week we had another picnic with her and some ladies from the ward and it was awesome! It just makes me so happy to see her creating real friendships with people, for the members to truly care and offer support and for them to be excited to see one another at church. Just so awesome!
We also had the opportunity to attend a baptism with Kerry and that was a sweet experience. After the ordinance was performed she was beaming. She was almost giddy with excitement for her own baptism in a few weeks and as she shared her feelings with us she got chills. I know that day the spirit witnessed to her that what she is doing is right and good.
On Monday we were able to have a family home evening with an absolutely amazing family in the ward. Their home is filled with the spirit and was wonderful for Kerry and her family to be there. We watched the Restoration movie and because of the safe environment created Kerry shared her testimony without prompting, at least none from us :) She bore testimony of the sacrament and how much that means to her in her life. It was beautiful and I could not be more happy. My mind kept going to President Daines, before he left the mission field he told us that if we are converted to the sacrament we are converted to Christ. I know Kerry has experienced conversion.
Last, but definitely not least yesterday we shared the sweet experience of going over the baptismal interview questions with her. This is an opportunity for her to share her testimony and the changes that have occurred in her life and that she is ready to make this step of baptism. Kerry is absolutely amazing. She told us that of all the hard things she has had to do, the changes she needed to make the hardest thing was that initial step of opening her mind. Once she did that, everything changed and she was able to find greater hope and joy in her life through the gospel.

That really struck me. How often in our lives do we struggle to open our minds? I feel in life we get so comfortable with what we know, or our pride sets in and we assume that what we know is right. How often do we get in our own way of finding more? I have been thinking about this often lately and was reminded of it again while reading these verses in my studies this morning.

2 Nephi 30:5-6
5 And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers.
6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.

No matter who we are, what we know, where we are in life, or even more specifically where we are in our walk with Christ, there is always more. If we but open our hearts those scales of darkness, whatever keeps us from seeing the world around us clearly, will be removed. I would invite each of you to pray and ask God what you can do to be a little more open, a little more humble, or to have a little more real intent and then to act. I promise that as you do so you will rejoice. You will find that greater joy, hope and peace that the Lord is waiting to bless you with and like the scripture says, you and the generations to follow will be a pure and delightsome people.

I hope you have a wonderful week! Just keep smiling!




Monday, June 18, 2018

Life Changing

This week has been fantastic! So many miracles have come our way and I could not be happier!

First of all, as a mission we have what are called the standards of excellence. This is a way we can track and be accountable for the work we do each week. Well, this week we reached those standards! In Dublin! All that people said when I was transferred to Dublin was how hard of an area it is. I declare that to be false! It is honestly just like any other area, it's what you make it. I truly have a testimony that whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve! And through that kind of faith, we are seeing miracles!

I want to tell you briefly about a very incredible and life changing experience we had this week. Honestly, this experience about sums up why I chose to come on a mission and why every day is worth it for me. I was on exchanges with Sister Edmunds, who is honestly one of the coolest people I know. We had a blast. But the best part of our day was when we didn't really know where to go. We only had a few minutes, and our plans had in this person a bit out if the way and just thinking about it, it didn't make sense to walk all the way over there with the amount of time we had. But something told us we should, so we listened. In case you are wondering, that something is called the Holy Ghost. And I am so glad we listened. We were only about half way down the street and we hear someone call out to us "Sisters!" We see a man in a garage and as we get closer he says "do you wonder how I know who you are? I used to be mormon." And then we proceeded to have the most wonderful conversation I can ever remember having. He told us about his life, how he walked away from that path, what his life was like now, and how crazy it was that we met him today. He went from being surprised at seeing us, to confused, to realizing there must be a purpose, and then finally to knowing that because of this interaction his life would never be the same. He commented on the power of the spirit he felt in our conversation, the amount of time it's been since he has had the privilege of feeling that, and showed a bit of despair as he told us that he was too far to be able to come back. We testified of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, how there is no where that is out of Christ's reach. He loves us perfectly. No matter where we are in life, if we have a desire to change He will be there to make it possible. And that is exactly what our friend, Raul, wanted to do. He wanted to change to feel the spirit again and find peace and satisfaction in his life. He just kept saying how excited he was to call his son, who he knows has been praying for him. Raul said he will never forget us and the conversation we had, and I know I never will either. It was a great reminder of why I am here and of the reality if our message. The gospel of Jesus Christ changes and saves lives, and it is the only sure way to find peace and safety both in this life and the life to come. I am so grateful that I get to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to spread this life changing message.

Love you all, Just keep smiling.




Saturday, June 9, 2018

My Wrestle With God


Oh boy, what a week! I don't think I have ever been so excited, exhausted, anxious, or joyful as I have been this week. Let me see if I can sum it up for you real quick (it probably won't be very quick). I am now serving in a place called Dublin, Ohio. I don't think I have ever served in a place quite like Dublin. It is a beautiful place, full of beautiful homes and nice families. Life is so good, which sometimes makes it a bit hard for people to see why they need the gospel in their lives. Or at least that is the reputation this area has received. But coming into this transfer, my companion Sister Tolman and I decided we were not going to let those stereotypes and past results get in our way of seeing miracles!

One of the biggest things weighing on me lately is a goal we have as a mission. President Stratford received revelation that each companionship in the mission can help someone to be baptized before July 1st, and since then it has been confirmed to me multiple times that this is possible. So I have faith that this is possible because God always fulfills His promises. But upon arriving in Dublin, there was no one on date to be baptized in the month of June. And in case you forgot, it's already June. So we seemed to be in a bit of a pickle. To be totally honest, I was frustrated and a bit angry. I don't know what at, but I just felt like it wasn't fair. But God gave me a good kick in the pants and an assurance that all things are possible through Christ. So I picked myself up and we made goals and plans to find someone and make this happen. 

I think my theme for the week has definitely been Alma 8:10
"Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance."

This is literally me. Every time I would read in the scriptures about individuals wrestling with God or struggling in the spirit, I obviously recognized that whatever it was they were praying about was something they really wanted and it took effort. But this week, I think I truly have come to understand what that means, the kind of desire that comes from understanding the eternal consequences of what needs to happen to the point that it consumes you and leads you to struggle in prayer, and the type of energy and effort that it takes. It is more than just physical exertion that we experience when we work hard, but it is spiritually and mentally strenuous. I don't think I have ever wanted anything more, and I think what heightens that desire is knowing that it is what God wants as well.

We have been working so hard, meeting and teaching many wonderful people and looking everyone for those who are prepared for baptism. Yesterday evening Sister Tolman and I both felt like we should see a woman in our area book. We went to her home and actually met her daughter who is about our age :) She is so cool!!! She immediately opened up to us and found interest in our message. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she said that it would be so important to her to know that there is more scripture about Christ, because she wants to be able to learn as much about him as she can. We shared more of the restoration and the conversation shifted to baptism. What she said made my heart fill with joy "I have always wanted to be re baptized, so that this time it would be my own personal commitment to follow Christ" Friends, she excitedly accepted a baptismal date of June 30th, is looking forward to church Sunday and reading from the Book of Mormon. She is a miracle. I gave her the biggest hug before we left her doorstep and could not help but tear up as we walked away, practically jumping for joy that our prayers had been heard and answered. I know that at this point she can't possibly know the magnitude of the commitment she just made, or how hard the adversary is going to work against this. But we know these things, we know how impossible a task this may seem, so we are going to keep struggling in the spirit and wrestling with God to make this happen. We will continue to find those that God is preparing and do all we can for those we have already found, because they are always there and God will always provide a way.

Remember that God loves you. He hears your prayers. He knows of your worries, fears, concerns, anxieties and trials. It may not always come in your timing, but an answer will always come. So keep praying, and while you wait Just Keep Smiling!



Friday, June 1, 2018

Change is Good



This is going to be a real short one folks! Well, like I said, change is good. That's basically what I have been telling myself all day. We found out that I will be transferred to Dublin, and that is where I will spend my last transfer. It is hard to go. I am going to miss Sister Tobler like crazy! She has become one of my best friends, we have shared so many laughs, experienced some serious challenges, have grown together, and I can honestly say she has changed my life. I am especially sad to go with all the miracles we are experiencing lately.



To be brief, WE FOUND A FAMILY!!!! They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. They are so prepared for the gospel and they know it. That brings me the greatest joy, when people can instantly tell that what we have to share is something desirable and can change their life. We met them by what anyone else would call mere chance, but I know it was by divine design. We were led to them because God knows they are ready, that they need the restored gospel, and that we specifically could help them find it. They are just so excited to make these changes in their life and work towards baptism! They are planning to be baptized this next month, and that is a day I wouldn't miss for anything in the world :) 

I think it is amazing how even though as missionaries we change locations so often, we do not have to be worried about losing the bonds we form because they have truly changed us. The experiences we have change our nature and who we are, we will never be the same again and those we meet become a part of us. Even though I only met this wonderful family a week and a half ago, they will be a part of my life forever, along with so many others that I have come to love while serving the people of Ohio :)

 I am ready to face my next adventure head on, and give my all to whatever comes my way!


Have a wonderful week everyone, and just keep smiling!